Neocons Now Doubting Iraqi Invasion

"I interviewed many neocons before the invasion and, like many people, found much to admire in their vision of spreading democracy in the Middle East," writes this Vanity Fair reporter.

Many lefties, like our own Nadir, claim that Bush posited a single justification for invading Iraq: WMDs. The concept of "spreading democracy" represented an improvised "new justification" in response to failing to find WMDs, these lefty peaceniks claim. But the evidence shows that prior to the invasion, all the neocons very clearly promoted the establishment of democracy in Iraq via US military action as a cornerstone objective in reversing the islamic crusader terrorism that manifested as 911.

In this article, neocon Richard Perle admits that he and the other neocons got two things wrong:
1. The extent of depravity amoungst the Iraqi Arabs (though he doesn't notice that the Iraqi Kurds have responded to the US invasion by establishing a civilization).
2. Bush's incompetence (though he doesn't notice that this same incompetence in Iraq's Kurdistan didn't prevent the people there from behaving civilly anyway).

I agree with these assessments, except for the omission of the Kurdish exception. This article presents many other neocons echoing Perle's second point (that Bush and his team very poorly implemented Iraq's liberation), but none comment on the roles played by Iraqis. Could a better implementation have led to civilization in the Sunni and Shia areas, even though the actual implementation positively affected civilization in the Kurdish area? I am unconvinced.


Paul Hue said...


David Frum, a neocon in the article, responds to the article.

republican brother said...

There were "several" reasons for going into Iraq. Some just choose to focus on the WMD reason. Liberating Iraq, overthrowing saddam, and establishing a democracy in the middle east, protecting Israel from an unstable dictator were starters. Also, saddam selling oil in euros was a reason that never gets much attention. If allowed to continue, that would have completely underminded the dollar's currency strenght around the world.

Tom Philpott said...

"Also, saddam selling oil in euros was a reason that never gets much attention.If allowed to continue, that would have completely underminded the dollar's currency strenght around the world."

That's an amazing statement, Repo Bro. Watch out; Iran has threatened to do the same. Meanwhile, looks like we're going to have burned at least a trillion greenbacks in Iraq when all is said and done.

Paul Hue said...

Tom: I don't understand your point. The Bushies went into Iraq figuring that all of Iraq would behave like the Kurdish third, and respond to liberation by creating a modern civilization, which would have resulted in millions of people working and trading freely, and paying for their own liberation. Instead, the Bushies miscalculated and the invasion isn't getting paid for by its beneficiaries. The Bushies didn't figure on spending trillions to save several billions; they figured the war would cost less, and get paid for by subsequent trade income from a new civilization.

Tom Philpott said...

Repo Bro (not me) claims they invaded in in part to prop up the dollar. He evidently thinks the US military should enforce some law (written where?) that oil producers have to sell in dollars. Are there any other commodities that meet this test, Repo Bro?

Lots of analysts, including the State Department, thought the invasion's aftermath would be a long and difficult affair. At this point, anyone who seriously thought different should be fired. But since a huge portion of those hundreds of billions have been cycled out of taxpayer pockets into crony coffers, it doesn't seem to matter much to Bush. And the rationale for a permanent base in Iraq remains very much in place. So maybe the whole thing isn't quite the calamity it seems.

republican brother said...

Three ways to fight a war that I know of.
1. A war can be fought to win.
2. A war can be fought to appease.
3. A war can be fought to lose without knowing it.

Right now is a combination of 2 and 3.

The Iraqi government is like a bicycle, and the United States military is acting like the training wheels. Bush is trying to please so many people it has become sickening. Al Quida is in Iraq. The only way to kill them is to use overwhelming force. Even Saddam used force to keep them all inl ine.